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Project Turnabout breaks ground on expansion to residential chemical dependency facility

Project Turnabout held a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday for a $6.4 million project to expand its residential treatment program on the western edge of Granite Falls. This is the third and largest expansion, following a $5.9 million expansion after a July 2000 tornado extensively damaged the campus months after the completion of a previous expansion project. Tribune photo by Tom Cherveny

GRANITE FALLS — Project Turnabout broke ground Tuesday on an estimated $6.4 million project to expand its residential, chemical dependency treatment facility on the west edge of Granite Falls.

Officials at the ceremony described the need for the expansion as a “good news, bad news” turn of events.

 “The bad news is we have to do it because of the need,” said Duaine Amundson, a building committee member from Willmar. “The good news is we are in a position to do it, and it fulfills our mission to serve Southwest Minnesota. If we didn’t have the disease, if we didn’t have the issues, we wouldn’t have to do that.”

Project Turnabout will expand from 89 beds to 122 beds, maintaining its position as one of the largest centers to offer residential treatment for substance abuse and problem gambling. The expansion will increase the beds in the women’s treatment program from 20 to 27.

The project will also allow Project Turnabout to expand the number of its medical beds, as it is seeing a need to treat a greater variety and acuity of health conditions.

Mike Schiks, Project Turnabout CEO, is currently turning away 35 to 40 people a month seeking residential treatment.

This is the third and largest expansion at Project Turnabout. It completed a $5.9 million expansion after a July 2000 tornado extensively damaged the campus, just months after the completion of a previous expansion project.

Project Turnabout serves patients from 50 different counties in Minnesota, a majority of them from Southwest Minnesota and most coming from rural addresses and backgrounds. It offers care at about a third of the cost of other residential treatment facilities, Schiks said.

David Smiglewski, mayor of Granite Falls and chairman of the board of Project Turnabout, said the expansion reinforces Project Turnabout’s commitment to “getting the most help for the largest number of people,” said.

The expansion project is expected to take 14 to 15 months, according to Amundson. It will add about 15 to 20 jobs to a work force of about 150 at the campus. The campus also includes Project Vanguard, a 20-bed residential treatment program for problem gamblers.

The expansion is already underway, with the initial work focused on blasting the granite bedrock at the site.

Sussner Construction of Marshall is the general contractor for the project.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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